A U.S.-based persecution watchdog says it has documented more than 100 incidents of Christian persecution in China between July 2020 and June 2021 as the country’s communist regime seeks to forcefully convert independent religious groups into mechanisms of the Chinese Communist Party.
A significant trend throughout the past year was an increase in church raids, says a report published by International Christian Concern. It notes that “not only were churches shut down or demolished, but pastors and church attendees were often arrested.”
One example of this crackdown happened earlier this month when more than 30 officials from the CCP, including SWAT officers, police officers, religious affairs bureau officials and local school district administrators raided Maizi Christian Music High School in Harbin city in China’s Heilongjiang province, the U.S.-based rights group China Aid reported at the time.
In August, officers from Chenghua District Mengzhuiwang office in Sichuan province forcibly entered the home of a church member, He Shan, where the small group of Early Rain Covenant Church members were meeting for worship, CBN News said at the time.
ICC has also tracked 23 incidents of authorities demolishing religious structures and symbols during its reporting period. “The CCP has torn down, destroyed, and removed numerous churches in China, especially those that refused to submit to its control,” the report says.
The persecution watchdog adds in the report that it recorded 14 cases of “Sinicization,” which is a state campaign to forcefully assimilate religious groups into CCP-defined Chinese culture.
As an example, ICC highlights the plight of a church bookstore that was forced to display Mao Zedong’s Little Red Book instead of the Bible. The Administration for Religious Affairs also ordered Christians to study President Xi’s book and memorize his speeches.
Chinese authorities are also removing Bible apps and Christian WeChat public accounts as new highly restrictive administrative measures on religious staff went into effect earlier this year.
The ICC report says that almost every province in China has seen an increase in Christian persecution, and this rise has been especially apparent in Sichuan, Hebei and Fujian provinces where the independent churches have been very visible and active.
This persecution of Christians is escalating all over the world and is evidence we are in the “end times” that Jesus spoke about that precedes His return. Jesus gives us many signs in the following passage from Luke. The same is given by Matthew. Jesus tells us that He is providing opportunities to witness for Him and that the Holy Spirit will even give us the words to speak. This is training and preparation for us to rule and reign with Jesus on this earth during the Millennium.
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness. Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives.” Luke 21:10-19